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Hawthorne at Salem

Life & Times

Non-Fiction / Poetry

Hawthorne's Non-Fiction and Poetry: Introduction

Poem "Moderate Views" written by Hawthorne on February 13, 1817
Poem "Moderate Views" written by Hawthorne on February 13, 1817(courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
 
Hawthorne's poetry was limited to verses written in adolescence which he sent to his sisters in letters or published in the newspaper, The Spectator, which he distributed to his family. According to James R. Mellow in Nathaniel Hawthorne In His Times, Hawthorne told his sister, Louisa, "'I am full of scraps of poetry; can't keep it out of my brain'" (22). Mellow notes that Hawthorne reported, "'I could vomit up a dozen pages more if I was a mind to,'" and Mellow observes that these words demonstrate "the same depreciation and irony that were to characterize his attitude toward his work when he became a mature writer-even a famous one" (23).

Hawthorne wrote essays as well as poetry in The Spectator, but unlike his poetry, Hawthorne's non-fiction was not confined to his adolescence. Hawthorne wrote non-fiction all of his life, from the early essays in The Spectator such as, "On Wealth," "On Benevolence," and "On Industry" and one book in the juvenile series, Peter Parley's Universal History, through the notebooks, journals, sketches, his biography of Franklin Pierce, "The Duston Family" in The American Magazine of Useful and Entertaining Knowledge and articles for the Atlantic Monthly during his prime, to Our Old Home, his collection of English travel sketches published in 1862, two years before his death

Literature Related to Hawthorne's Non-fiction and Poetry

Poem "Moderate Views" written by Hawthorne on February 13, 1817
Poem "Moderate Views" written by Hawthorne on February 13, 1817(courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
 

Poetry of Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • Full text of "Moderate Views" Hawthorne wrote this poem on February 13, 1817. In it the young Hawthorne expresses his hope that he will live a modest, humble life and his view that the true glories of life are available to all

    Non-Fiction of Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • Excerpt from Chapter 2 of Grandfather's Chair: A History for Youth, 1840-41. In this passage Hawthorne discusses the Puritan settlements in Plymouth and Salem. Pioneer Village in Salem today was inspired by Hawthorne's description of John Winthrop's Salem.
  • Full text of Grandfather's Chair: A History for Youth 
     
  • Excerpt from "Chiefly About War Matters by A Peaceable Man," published in July, 1862 in the Atlantic. In this essay Hawthorne voices his doubts about the wisdom of the war after his experiences viewing a battlefield and a prisoner-of-war camp and talking with Abraham Lincoln. Hawthorne's views about the war are at odds with those of his friends, and the political incorrectness of Hawthorne's position left readers uneasy. In this excerpt Hawthorne remarks on his lack of sympathy for John Brown and expresses dismay at Emerson's statement in support of Brown. Full text of "Chiefly About War Matters by A Peaceable Man"

Original Documents Related to Non-fiction and Poetry

Poem \"Moderate Views\" written by Hawthorne on February 13, 1817
Poem "Moderate Views" written by Hawthorne on February 13, 1817
In this poem the young Hawthorne expresses his hope that he will live a modest, humble life and his view that the true glories of life are available to all: With passions unruffled untainted by pride By reason my life let me square. The wants of my nature are cheaply supplied And the rest are but folly and care. How vainly through infinite trouble and strife The many their labours employ, Since all that is truly delightful in life, Is what all if they please may enjoy. (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)

Images Related to Non-fiction and Poetry

Samuel G. Goodrich (1793-1860)
Brady Carte de Visite
Samuel G. Goodrich (1793-1860) Brady Carte de Visite 
The back of the image reads: "Published by E. Anthony, 501 Broadway, New York. From photographic negative, from Brady's National Portrait Gallery." The Portrait Gallery has put online an image of the daguerreotype from which this carte was made.  Image courtesy of Pat Pflieger, merrycoz.org
Samuel G. Goodrich (1793-1860)
Samuel G. Goodrich (1793-1860) 
This medal was reproduced for the frontispiece of the first volume of Goodrich's Recollections of a Lifetime (1857). A photo of the original medal appeared on page 401 of Emily Goodrich Smith's "'Peter Parley'--As Known to His Daughter." The photo is less detailed than is the engraving.  Image courtesy of Pat Pflieger, merrycoz.org

Lectures and Articles Related to the Non-fiction and Poetry of Nathaniel Hawthorne

Poem "Moderate Views" written by Hawthorne on February 13, 1817
Poem "Moderate Views" written by Hawthorne on February 13, 1817(courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)
 
and expanding upon his earlier depictions of encroaching mechanization within American culture."In addition, Dr. Hewitson argues that “'War Matters' can be seen as anticipating later similar treatments of issues of mechanization and its potential for profound subjective and social realignments, such as Herman Melville’s Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War, Mark Twain’s Connecticut Yankee in Kng Arthur’s Court and Henry Adams’ Education of Henry Adams.